Now that training camp is over with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Pittsburgh and gearing up for what they hope will be a much more productive season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of training camp and the preseason and the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DB Tre Norwood
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The second-year defensive back mostly impressed throughout the summer, and as a result has continued to raise his profile accordingly. He is in line to feature as the dime back this season, and especially with Damontae Kazee on the Reserve/Injured List, is not only the top backup safety for now, but could also feature in three-safety packages similar to those experimented with while Kazee was available.
Late-round gems used to be a stable of Kevin Colbert drafts. They started to become few and far between for the better part of a decade, but we may be seeing the tide turn at the end of his tenure. Tre Norwood, a seventh-round pick a year ago, has indicated that he may well be a find, even if he may not (or indeed, may yet) develop into a full-time starter.
Even as a rookie, Norwood displayed high levels of football intelligence and found ways to be around the ball when it was in the air. He also seemed to work on the physicality of his game consciously, which was a question coming out of college, and has established more of a presence in that area.
With Damontae Kazee unavailable for the time being, Norwood is now occupying the role of the top backup safety, who would start if either Minkah Fitzpatrick or Terrell Edmunds were unavailable. He did start one game last season when Fitzpatrick was on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
What’s more, he has cemented his role as the dime back, as we saw during the preseason, as he was playing with the first-team defense in that role. And the Steelers were working on a three-safety package with Kazee, as well. They may now delegate that package to Norwood, who in many ways has a very similar game to Kazee’s, lacking (perhaps) only the experience.